A bushwhack off the Flat Mountain Pond Trail up the south ridge of the West Spur of Mount Whiteface. The rewards were spectacular fern glades and a clifftop with views near and far.
The trailhead on Whiteface Intervale Road.
Trailside beaver meadow with view of Sandwich Dome and the southern Flat Mountain.
View of Mount Whiteface from a high bank above the Whiteface River.
A bridge abutment from a former footbridge over the Whiteface River that was washed away. The crossing was easy on large rocks just upstream.
On the far side the trail enters the Wilderness.
The trail crosses the attractive East Branch of the Whiteface River.
The Whiteface River is choked with boulders.
After an initial very steep climb out of the river valley, the bushwhack up the south ridge led through a vast shady hardwood forest. Back in 1996 I whacked up this ridge all the way to a viewspot on the West Spur and enjoyed wide-open hardwoods on this lower part. I feared that the 1998 ice storm may have choked these woods with hobblebush, but the going was still pretty good - if at a slower pace! - 22 years later.
The stub of a fallen giant.
I crossed an old tote road, presumably from the Beebe River Logging Railroad operation (ca. 1920).
The woods became open and ferny on the approach to the fern glades.
Into the park-like glades.
I followed moose paths through the ferns, where available, but had to watch my footing carefully on the uneven ground.
The glades are pitched steeply enough for views, here looking at the southern Flat Mountain and Mount Israel.
A framed view of Sandwich Dome.
A closer look. Jennings Peak and the SW peak of the northern Flat Mountain are on the R.
The glades extend for more than 0.1 mile.
I half-expected to see a moose browsing in here. Saw some poop, but no moose.
These glades rival those on the remote Beaver Kill Range in the Catskills, which Mark Klim and I visited in April.
Typical prickly spruce whacking heading up to the cliffs. They were well-guarded with nearly impenetrable scrub at the edge.
Found the perch I visited on my previous trip, with its vast view over the Lakes Region.
Mount Whiteface looms close at hand, seen across the ravine of the East Branch of Whiteface River.
The south peak of Whiteface with its landmark cliff face.
Cliffs and talus slopes on the steep flank of the ridge that bears the McCrillis Trail.
Out to Maine across the lower valley of the East Branch.
Perfect early summer weather.
The Ossipee Range beyond the fields of Whiteface Intervale.
A boot shot kind of day.
Back down through the fern glades.
A large sugar maple deep in the forest.